Fayetteville State University hosts jazz festival

09Tia FullerFayetteville State University’s Department of Performing and Fine Arts presents its FSU Jazz Day Festival for middle school and high school jazz bands and jazz combos Saturday, April 6, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

A concert featuring the Tia Fuller Jazz Quartet will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Seabrook Auditorium, which is located on the campus of the university. 

“The jazz festival started last year to basically help students in our region in the jazz field — to help develop jazz programs and to help develop more appreciation for jazz itself,” said Ronald Carter, coordinator of the jazz festival and distinguished professor in the Department of Performing and Fine Arts at FSU. “This year, I am bringing in Grammy-nominated Tia Fuller, who is a performing saxophonist for Beyoncé. She still plays and records around the world with different people.” 

The festival will include workshops, clinics and performances. “At 1:15 p.m., we will have jazz clinics presented by FSU’s jazz faculty and by Tia Fuller’s jazz group,” said Carter. “The workshops will be about how to use instruments to play jazz, how to develop the concepts, tone and language of jazz, how to play within the jazz ensemble and more.” 

Carter added the clinics will feature drums, saxophone, piano, clarinet, flute, trumpet, trombone and other jazz instruments. 

The first band will play at 8:30 a.m. “We will have high schools from South Carolina and North Carolina and two college groups playing,” said Carter. “We have Shaw University’s jazz band. Benedict College’s jazz band from Columbia, South Carolina, will play too.” 

Carter added that next year the jazz festival will be bigger and that he aims to eventually start having a historically black college jazz festival. 

“This event is educational and motivational — (it’s) a great mentorship opportunity and allows participants to meet the students (and) the jazz professors and music professors at Fayetteville State as well,” said Carter. “It is community outreach for the colleges that are coming in and also for the students that are coming in from other states as well as Raleigh and the surrounding areas.” 

All events before 5 p.m. will be free. The clinics are open to the public. The registration fee is $200 for each participating school. General admission for the Tia Fuller Jazz Quartet concert is $5 for students and $10 for adults. For more information, to register or obtain ticket information, email Carter at Tickets can be purchased at 

Photo: Tia Fuller

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4th Friday brings art, advocacy and adventure to downtown

09 4 fridayEvery 4th Friday, downtown Fayetteville hosts a plethora of experiences and activities. Friday, March 22, folks can expect the charm of Fayetteville’s historic downtown mixed with the celebration of local businesses and entertainment. At 4th Friday, attendees can celebrate the community and learn about groups in the area and what they do. One such organization, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County, says on its website, “Businesses in the four and a half block of historic downtown Fayetteville join the action and become artistic venues on 4th Friday, featuring the arts in all forms, for all ages.”

Walk Awhile in Her Shoes is an annual event occurring on March’s 4th Friday this year that encourages local men to support sexual assault victims, advocate for justice and call for an end to sexual violence. For $30 plus shoe rental, men don red shoes of all kinds — pumps, flats and sandals, satin, sequined and leather — and walk from Hay Street to Bright Light Brewing Company. Proceeds go to the Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County. Registration includes a Tshirt, water and desserts. Search the event on Facebook or Eventbrite or email for more information.

The Arts Council supports individual creativity, cultural preservation, economic development and lifelong learning for all ages. The nonprofit treats 4th Friday as an opportunity to share and display art exhibitions and more. Opening 4th Friday at the council’s Arts Center, 301 Hay St., is “Picturing America’s Pastime Exhibition with Presenting Partner Fayetteville Woodpeckers: A Snapshot of the Photography Collection at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.” The exhibition will be on display through May 11. To learn more, visit the Arts Council website at

The Ellington-White Gallery, at 113 Gillespie St., will also be open to the public for 4th Friday. According to its website, the Ellington-White Gallery works to “generate and support high quality diverse cultural experiences in all of the arts and art-related disciplines.”

4th Friday offers other experiences from local organizations ranging from museums nonprofits. The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum hosts a variety of exhibitions for a variety of interests. Its newest exhibit, “Baseball in Fayetteville,” showcases Fayetteville’s love of baseball. The exhibit will be open throughout the year. Call 910- 433-1457 for more information.

Fascinate-U Children’s Museum keeps children and families entertained for hours. The museum is open from 7-9 p.m. on 4th Friday, offering free admission and a craft. The craft for March is a Minion magnet. Call 910-829-9171 for details.

City Center Gallery & Books keeps its doors open until 9 p.m. for 4th Friday, and Cape Fear Studios invites attendees to “stop in to see our newest exhibit, meet our artists and check out the new works during each 4th Friday opening.”

To top off the festivities, the Cool Spring Downtown District will sponsor the “Clue’ville Downtown Mystery.” The event starts Friday, March 22, from 6-9 p.m., and continues Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. CSDD’s website says, “Your favorite board game comes to life in Downtown again this year. Move from business to business, gather clues, solve the crime. Watch the culprit’s arrest at a Press Conference. Right or wrong you have a chance to win prizes. This event is FREE, and fun for the whole family!”

The maps for these games are available at local downtown businesses as well as for download. Check the Cool Spring Downtown District Facebook Event Page for updates or call 910-223-1089.

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Review: CFRT’s ‘Trumbo’ an important piece of theater

09TrumboCape Fear Regional Theatre’s production of “Trumbo,” running through March 17, is not an easy play to review. The show’s program contains two pages of historical context and another two-page glossary to help orient theatergoers. There is no stage, no script and no action. To understand what plot there is, it helps to be a student of American political history. That said, “Trumbo” is a compelling drama.

Spanning the period from 1947-1960, during which time capitalism and communism were locked in a pitched battle for global ideological dominance, the play tells the story of Dalton Trumbo, a highly successful, award-winning Hollywood screenwriter who ran afoul of the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee.

Written by Christopher Trumbo, Dalton’s son, and ably directed by CFRT Artistic Director Mary Kate Burke, much of the show’s dialogue is taken straight from Dalton’s prolific correspondence between friend and foe alike. The juxtaposition in those letters between the noble and the mundane is both brilliant and spellbinding.

We meet Dalton for the first time as he defiantly takes on his HUAC interrogator only to watch his defiance dissolve into irritability as he pens a longwinded complaint to the phone company.

The audience is held rapt during the reading of a high-minded moral defense — with implications for our current political climate — only to dissolve in laughter minutes later as Dalton writes his college-bound son a hilariously ribald piece of fatherly advice.

The role of Dalton is played by Larry Pine, whose screen credits include “Bull,” “House of Cards,” “Madame Secretary” and “The Good Wife,” among many others. Pine plays Trumbo as an unfailingly erudite curmudgeon who manages to hold onto his sense of humor as the world shifts beneath his feet and he plunges from fame and fortune to impecunious infamy, dragging his family along with him.

That Dalton’s family unfailingly supported him is made evident by the role of his son Christopher in the play, who acts as the glue that holds the entire performance together. Played with endearing diffidence by Michael Tisdale, whose credits include “Law & Order” and “Third Watch,” Christopher provides the context for his father’s story and helps the audience see beyond the bluster to the man he loved.

The play ends with an unflinching, yet humorous, summing up of the cost of hewing to one’s convictions.

Whether Dalton was a martyr or a menace depends upon one’s political persuasion. But politics is a pendulum that swings both ways — which should make respect for First Amendment rights a matter of universal concern. That this has not always been so is what makes “Trumbo” an important piece of theater. Burke and CFRT are to be commended for bringing it to town.

Showtimes and ticket information are available from the CFRT box office at 910-323-4233. The box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 1-6 p.m. and one hour before showtimes. Learn more at

Photo:  “Trumbo,” starring Larry Pine (right) and Michael Tisdale (left), is at CFRT through March 17.

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Following Lawson through the Carolinas

13CarolinasWhy would anybody want to spend months walking from the South Carolina coast up through the Piedmont to present-day Charlotte and then back east to the North Carolina tidewater?

There are two good reasons, one from more than 300 years ago and the other from modern times.

First, in 1700, a newcomer to North America named John Lawson made this long trip to explore and learn about unfamiliar lands. He made the trip on foot because there was no better way to travel through the endless forests of backcountry Carolinas. Setting off from Charleston, he was accompanied by several Englishmen and Indian guides. The notes he took became the basis of a book, “A New Voyage to Carolina,” first published in 1709 and still a classic for its rich descriptions of flora and fauna and the conditions of the native peoples who populated the areas he visited.

The more recent traveler, writer Scott Huler, made the long walk because he wanted to follow in Lawson’s footsteps. He said he looked for a modern book that explained where Lawson went and compared it to what is there today. When he found that it had not been done and that no one had even retraced Lawson’s journey, he thought, “That’s for me!”

Of course, Huler could have made the trip of several hundred miles in a day or two in a car on modern roads. But he wanted to go slow, seeing today’s landscapes and peoples at the pace Lawson traveled.

He shares his travels in a new book, “A Delicious Country: Rediscovering the Carolinas along the Route of John Lawson’s 1700 Expedition.” It was released by UNC Press March 4.

Like most other readers of Lawson, Huler is impressed with Lawson’s descriptions of and attitude about the native populations. Lawson visited Sewee, Santee, Sugeree, Wateree, Catawba, Waxhaw, Occaneechi and Tuscarora Indians. Huler writes, “He (Lawson) stayed in their wigwams, ate their food, trusted their guides. And he emerged with their stories, for some of which he is the only source in the world.”

Lawson, Huler continues, “documented native communities, buildings, agriculture, hunting, dance, trade, and culture through eyes clear, thorough, and respectful. Lawson depicts the natives as fully human—not some subspecies perceived only in comparison to European settlers.”

Lawson’s words were, “They are really better to us than we are to them.”

But Lawson found the native populations to be in a precarious situation. “The Small-Pox and Rum have made such a Destruction amongst them, that, on good grounds, I do believe, there is not the sixth Savage living within two hundred Miles of all our Settlements, as there were fifty Years ago. These poor Creatures have so many Enemies to destroy them, that it’s a wonder one of them is left alive near us.”

Traveling Lawson’s route through the rural Carolinas, Huler found a surprising and discouraging similarity. The rural and small-town landscapes are littered with empty manufacturing plants, corporate farms and forests, empty main streets and deserted houses. Three centuries after Lawson, Huler found that “our world would teeter: a way of life dying in the countryside, implacable new forces once again balancing an entire civilization on a knife edge.”

Setting aside this discouraging report, Huler’s adventures and misadventures on the road entertain and inform. He is the best type of tour guide, one who is well-informed but not at all pompous. His wry, self-deprecating sense of humor helps his serious medicine go down smoothly.

For Lawson, his explorations and the reports about them opened the door to prominence and high positions in the young colony. That success came to a sudden end in 1711 when he was captured and executed by the Indians he had so greatly admired and praised.

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Congressional art competition accepting entries

05A Hometown FeelingAs your congressman, I have the honor of hosting the Congressional Art Competition in our district to recognize the artistic talents of students in our community. I’m excited to announce my office is now accepting entries from local high school students. Since this nationwide competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have been involved — including hundreds from our district alone.

Every year, I am amazed by the incredible talent and creativity of young artists in our district. And one of the best parts about hosting the competition is getting to meet and speak with students one-onone about their artwork at the reception I host to recognize participants and announce the winner.

Admittedly, this year’s competition is bittersweet. I am holding the competition in honor and remembrance of my good friend and legendary NASCAR artist Sam Bass, who passed away last week. 

Sam, a Concord, North Carolina, resident, was a pillar in our community and a big part of NASCAR’s history. He was the first officially licensed NASCAR artist and created notable works ranging from car designs to program covers. He designed the iconic “Rainbow Warrior” scheme on Jeff Gordon’s car, and countless others, out of his studio in Concord. In addition, he was awarded the Smith Family Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 by the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau for his incredible contributions and impact on our community.

He was beloved not just by our community but by NASCAR fans across the world. I got to know Sam through NASCAR. He even hosted the art competition one year at his gallery. I admired him not just for his talent but also for his incredible kindness. We continue to pray for his wife, Denise, and the entire Bass family as they go through this difficult time.

This year, I hope all local high school students will join me in paying tribute to Sam by participating in the art competition.

All entries must be an original in concept, design and execution and may not be larger than 26” x 26” x 4” — including the frame. Interested students should submit entries to my Concord or Fayetteville District offices by 5 p.m., Friday, April 26, with a completed 2019 Congressional Art Competition Student Information and Release Form. A full list of rules and the release form can be found on my website at

The winner will be selected by an Arts Advisory Committee made up of artists from the district and will be announced at a reception hosted in Concord. The winner and one guest will have the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., to participate in the national ceremony with other winners from congressional districts across the country, and winning artwork will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. Second place artwork will be displayed in my Washington, D.C., office, and third place artwork will be displayed in my Concord office.

For more information, visit my website at or call my Concord office at 704-786-1612. Our district is home to incredibly gifted students, and I look forward to seeing this year’s entries.

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